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90s Slang You Should Know


[bawl] /bɔl/
verb (used without object)
to cry or wail lustily.
verb (used with object)
to utter or proclaim by outcry; shout out:
to bawl one's dissatisfaction; bawling his senseless ditties to the audience.
to offer for sale by shouting, as a hawker:
a peddler bawling his wares.
a loud shout; outcry.
a period or spell of loud crying or weeping.
Chiefly Midland and Western U.S. the noise made by a calf.
Verb phrases
bawl out, Informal. to scold vociferously; reprimand or scold vigorously:
Your father will bawl you out when he sees this mess.
Origin of bawl
late Middle English
1400-50; late Middle English < Medieval Latin baulāre to bark < Germanic; compare Old Norse baula to low, baula cow, perhaps a conflation of belja (see bell2) with an old root *bhu-
Related forms
bawler, noun
outbawl, verb (used with object)
Can be confused
bald, balled, bawled.
ball, bawl, bowl.
1. howl, yowl, squall, roar, bellow. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for bawling
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • The grunt is very different from the bleating of a lamb or the bawling of a domestic calf.

  • He cocked up his ear and listened to the bawling of the liner's great whistle.

    Blow The Man Down Holman Day
  • The cow-yard held ten or fifteen cattle of various kinds, while a few calves88 were bawling from a pen near by.

  • The bell rings: they leave off bawling, "Anybody else for the shore?"

    The Christmas Books William Makepeace Thackeray
  • Say I murmur fool talk about putting it onto the green and bawling on the bunkers.

    The Lash Olin L. Lyman
  • The bawling of my milk-cows, across the cold night air, began to annoy me.

    The Prairie Mother Arthur Stringer
  • Ay, sir, and will give you a lick of my cudgel, if ye stay long and trouble the whole street with your bawling.

British Dictionary definitions for bawling


(intransitive) to utter long loud cries, as from pain or frustration; wail
to shout loudly, as in anger
a loud shout or cry
Derived Forms
bawler, noun
bawling, noun
Word Origin
C15: probably from Icelandic baula to low; related to Medieval Latin baulāre to bark, Swedish böla to low; all of imitative origin
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for bawling



mid-15c., "to howl like a dog," from Old Norse baula "to low like a cow," and/or Medieval Latin baulare "to bark like a dog," both echoic. Meaning "to shout loudly" attested from 1590s. To bawl (someone) out "reprimand loudly" is 1908, American English. Related: Bawled; bawling.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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